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A turbulent 2016 for Greece forecasted by Konrad Adenauer Foundation

21 December 2015 / 19:12:05  GRReporter
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"One of the most turbulent years of Greece’s six-year reformist history is coming to an end," notes in its annual report the Athens branch of the political Konrad Adenauer Foundation that is close to the Christian Democratic Union of Germany.

In it, the authors state that "the road to political stabilization has not yet been found" and that "2015 will remain in Greece’s history as a significant crossroads."

On the political situation in the country, the report states that the radical left SYRIZA has changed and the other Greek democratic parties have already turned their backs on the rhetoric against the memoranda of financial assistance. However, the authors believe that "at the end of the year, the government coalition and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras himself are in a particularly difficult position, because contrary to its actions in August, the opposition no longer intends to support the government during parliament voting."

With regard to reforms, the text emphasizes that SYRIZA and Independent Greeks have voted on hard changes in parliament, but at the same time it states, "Generally the government is lagging behind in many areas and many analysts doubt that reforms will be implemented by the administration members who are slow and weak in terms of skills."

The authors describe how "the tough reforms have been deliberately postponed to be voted on in January." One of the hardest among them is the pension reform, "the implementation of which is difficult for a leftist party like SYRIZA." They argue, "It is more than clear that these reforms would create problems to the government of SYRIZA and Independent Greeks" and provide that the government might lose other MPs who will not support the drafts with their vote. "However, there are scenarios for a cabinet reshuffle and even new elections," the report reads.

The authors are of the opinion that due to the highly negative attitude of SYRIZA to the opposition during the election campaign, Alexis Tsipras has failed in attempting to secure their support. Furthermore, "choosing Independent Greeks for a coalition partner has completed the rift with the opposition."

According to the analysis of the Foundation’s experts, "none of the opposition parties, which anyway have a weak potential, seems determined to support the tough measures". They note that this problem is compounded by the fact that New Democracy is in crisis, "as the policy of interim president Evangelos Meimarakis is considered unsuccessful within the party." It is worth noting that the report was prepared before the change in the temporary leader of the main opposition party and the first round of the party elections, in which Meimarakis is holding the lead but with a small margin from the second contender for the post, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The analysts at Konrad Adenauer Foundation are of the opinion that the PASOK socialists do not intend to support the government either, the reasons being "self-defence" and "revenge" because the vast majority of party members and supporters have joined SYRIZA over the past years. Smaller parties like Potami and the Union of Centrists also define themselves as "disappointed with SYRIZA and seeking to strengthen their own weak profile."

The Foundation defines as a paradox the fact that "the opposition parties that have become weaker for various reasons continue to be introverted and polarized, although they could play a constructive role by providing political alternatives. Accounting for all this, now Alexis Tsipras is the only leading figure on the Greek political stage and in his party. However, he is at the head of a weak parliamentary majority, which could collapse any moment. The strong legitimacy of the government elected by an increasingly small number of voters is inconsistent, which is due to non-participation in the elections. Both in the parliamentary elections and in the referendum they supported Tsipras’ government. As a result, the consistently backed government is weakened and unstable. At the same time, SYRIZA leader’s popularity is constantly decreasing and many voters are disappointed with Tsipras’ second term.

The analysts continue with the hot issue that is caused by the refugee and migrant flood. "To the surprise of many supporters of the smaller coalition partner, the government of SYRIZA and Independent Greeks began with a change in the migration policy of Greece: No arriving refugees and migrants should be prevented in their attempts to enter Greek territory." They note the complete absence of any preparation on the part of the Greek government to receive them, as a result of which many of them have been returned to the Greek-Macedonian border. The report's authors note that "the reactions of the local administration and citizens are sharply intensifying, while the pressure on the part of Europe is increasing, resulting in Greece facing a scenario of Frontex activation on the sensitive border with Turkey, probably with the participation of the EU and the eastern neighbour of Athens. There are concerns that in the event of enhanced action by the EU, Greece will not be able to follow old patterns and thus many refugees and migrants will remain in the country. This is something that very few people in Greece want, despite the social values ​​of the cabinet."

Tags: PoliticsGreek governmentAlexis TsiprasReformsParliamentary majorityPolitical instabilityNew DemocracyRefugee floodMigration policy
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